Downtown Detroit (DD)
Located in downtown Detroit, across from GM Renaissance Center, Briggs is a popular sports bar and after-work watering hole. This attractive club draws an energetic crowd to its Trophy Room dance club with “kickass” DJs. The bar features 22 craft beers and two alcohol infusions on tap. The SkyBox rooftop is perfect for enjoying a cocktail while taking in an unrivaled view of downtown.
Queens Bar Detroit
Don’t be confused by the name. It’s not about “queens” as in gay men. Queens is named after the NYC borough – the owners have another Detroit bar named Bronx. Although not specifically an LGBTQ bar, Queens Bar has an unpretentious vibe and clearly welcomes LGBTQ patrons with a super-friendly staff that is very open. It has large windows wrapping around the exterior that let in plenty of light. A clean-lined bar design mimics the curved corner of the building, and there’s a cool street-side patio. The bar’s kitchen offers a grill menu.
Woodward Bar & Grill
In the heart of Detroit’s Midtown, Woodward Bar & Grill is the oldest gay bar in Detroit dating back to 1960. It’s storied history is reflected in the pictures on the walls and in conversations you’ll hear from loyal patrons. The Woodward is open for lunch and dinner with simple but excellent fare, especially their burgers. During the day, it serves the many business people in the area, turning mostly LGBTQ after 5 p.m. It’s popular with the black LGBTQ community and is a welcoming environment for men, women and trans.
A friendly neighborhood bar open to everyone seven days a week. On Thursdays, you can participate or watch others sing their hearts out at the karaoke bar, voted the best for two years by Local 4 News in Detroit. Outdoor seating on the patio, dancing and events and theme nights throughout the year. No food offered. Check out their Facebook page for upcoming events.
Club Gold Coast
One of Detroit’s oldest and most popular night spots, Club Gold Coast features male strippers and is open seven nights a week. Located in the Palmer Park area of Detroit, once the epicenter of the city’s gay scene. The area is coming back after decades of decline, and Club Gold Coast has thrived through it all, featuring dancing and an extensive bar every night. Great, friendly staff. Outdoor seating on warm nights.
Escape Lounge Midnight Club
So you’ve partied all evening but you’re not ready to call it a night. Escape Lounge is an all-male, after-hours, all-night eatery and bar. Opens at 10 p.m. Located on the east side of Detroit. Check out the Facebook page for special events.
The longest-running female impersonation revue in Michigan, Gigi’s has been in business for more than 30 years. A longtime Detroit gay hot spot, Gigi’s offers a big dance floor upstairs and a stage for drag shows in the basement bar. Includes karaoke, go-go boys and strippers. It’s a fun spot, known for its incredibly friendly staff, DJs and an openness to everyone and anyone that shows up.
A male club offering karaoke, pool, darts, six LCD screens and internet juke box. Open since 1980, Hayloft is owned by Ron Harrington, who also owns the gay bar Side Traxx in Traverse City. Happy Hour starts at 2 p.m. every day. This is a no-nonsense sports bar where men meet other men for fun, friendship and more.
Menjos Entertainment Complex
Menjos has been a gathering place for the gay community of metro Detroit for decades. It’s also a bit of a Madonna mecca since the Material Girl used to be a regular when she was a local Michigan gal. The mostly male, 20-to-30 something crowd comes for the dancing and entertainment. The complex includes Menjos Bar, the Eagle of Detroit bar and the Olympus Theater. Open Wednesday to Saturday. There’s always something going on at Menjos.
Oakland District (O)
Great little bar in the heart of Pontiac, Michigan, serving food and drinks. Liberty has been in business for more than 60 years. The pub menu has a trendy twist, with an extensive drink menu and huge beer selection. Open for lunch, too. Interactive videos, go-go dancers and Thursday karaoke. Welcomes men, women and trans. Friendly atmosphere.
Pronto!, right in the heart of Royal Oak, is a popular restaurant and bar that has served the LGBTQ community for decades. The video bar is popular in the evenings and features live entertainment, including Broadway-style cabaret nights. Pronto! offers a fun atmosphere with friendly staff, a relaxing sidewalk patio, a full bar and a popular Sunday brunch. Pronto! has teamed up with the Drag Queen Bingo hosted by Five 15 Media, Mojo And More every weekend in the space right next door.
This classy spot features wine, jazz, martinis and a comfortable, casual environment. Located right in the heart of Ferndale’s gay district, Soho has a weekly lineup of trivia, karaoke, dance parties and sweet drink specials. Popular with both men and women. Frequent special community events, including the Homophobia is Such a “Drag” fundraiser for the Ruth Ellis Center, a homeless shelter for LGBT youth. This is a great place to meet a friend and catch up before or after an evening out.
Beyond Detroit (BD)
This iconic spot in Ann Arbor has been an LGBTQ gathering place since the early 1990s. Most likely, when you walk in you’ll be greeted by one of the owners, Keith or Martin, who were one of the first same-sex couples to legally marry in Washtenaw County. A popular weekend Champagne brunch spot, Aut Bar features Ann Arbor’s gayest Happy Hour, Tuesday–Friday. Located in Braun Court, which is also home to the LGBTQ-focused Jim Toy Community Center and Common Language Bookstore, Aut hosts many community event fundraisers, rallies and celebrations. Popular with men, women and trans.
Necto Nightclub (PRIDE Fridays)
Ann Arbor’s downtown nightclub, Necto attracts people from the University of Michigan’s campus and surrounding area. Multiple weekly and special events, including Factory Monday – an industrial, Synth pop club night; Thursday Mix featuring concerts and events; and PRIDE Fridays (this is the official LGBT night, but the club is welcoming other nights, too). The Pride night has been a staple in Ann Arbor’s gay scene since 1984. PRIDE Fridays are well known for the special events and guest artists. Check out the website for special performers.